The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

October 4, 2013

Lunacy, not logic, continues at the VA

The latest, infuriating entry in the military’s ham-handed handling of sexual assault involves a Catch-22 worthy of Joseph Heller.

Follow the “logic”:

(1) The military acknowledges that most incidents of sexual assault are never reported to authorities. (If you wonder why, see the put-the-alleged-victim-on-trial proceedings just concluded involving the U.S. Naval Academy.)

(2) The military acknowledges that this underreporting includes the most serious forms of sexual assault, such as rape.

(3) The Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledges that such assaults can have consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, that require treatment years later.

Now, the catch.

(4) The VA — backed up in court by the Justice Department — insists that, for purposes of determining eligibility for benefits, the failure to report sexual assault can be used as evidence that it did not occur.

In short, we know these incidents aren’t reported, yet if you don’t report, you’re out of luck. Next case.

This appalling attitude came to light in a just-released opinion from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which instructed the VA, in essence, to knock it off.

The ruling, written by Judge Timothy Dyk and joined by Judge Raymond Clevenger, involved two claims. One woman, identified only as A.Z., served from March 1973 to July 1974, receiving an honorable discharge after she became pregnant. In 2004, she was diagnosed with psychiatric problems, including PTSD, which she blamed on sexual and physical abuse by a superior officer who she claims raped her and fathered her child.

The VA rejected the claim because there was no evidence in the record of sexual assault. A.Z. submitted statements from three siblings, who said that in “about her fourth or fifth month of pregnancy [A.Z.] told us she had been sexually assaulted, verbally abused and beaten by Sgt. [J.H.]” and that their sister did not report the incidents to military authorities because she was scared and did not think she would be believed.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Basketball stars may linger on campus a while longer

    The NBA seems serious about raising its minimum age, which could signal the end of the one-and-done era in college basketball.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Race card season again? After years of mostly hedging any suggestion that racism has anything to do with President Barack Obama's ferocious opposition, there's a new racial etiquette in town. Top Democrats are slipping off the kid gloves. "To a significant extent, the Repub

    April 21, 2014

  • Report suggests a reasonable approach Illinois has long had the most units of government in the nation - 6,963 at last count. Do we need so many taxing districts to provide governmental services across the Land of Lincoln? Supporters and opponents of the status quo can both find somethin

    April 21, 2014

  • Stand up against child abuse April is National Child Abuse Month and I would like to take a moment to share that our children are precious and Clinton County has one of the highest in the state when it comes to children who have been abused. You are able to check the statistics

    April 19, 2014

  • Bills to move quickly in final days Tuesday marks the 100th and last day of this scheduled session. After Tuesday, clerks will be sent home and legislators driving and living expenses will no longer be paid by the state. That usually means remaining legislation and Fiscal Year 2015 bu

    April 19, 2014

  • Reducing money's influence in politics The (Crystal Lake) Northwest Herald There's no doubt that money influences politics -- in big ways. Big money influences politics in even bigger ways, sometimes leading to corruption. That's why there are federal caps on the amount of money someone c

    April 19, 2014

  • Looking for love in all the wrong places This classic Dear Margo column was published in April 2008. DEAR MARGO: I'm 30 years old and have been married to an incredible, loving, caring man for 10 years. We have a beautiful family and we adore our children. Our sex life was pretty boring at

    April 19, 2014

  • Letter to the Editor: Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract

    Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton:
    The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled “‘Fair offer’ differences” in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate statements regarding our negotiated contract proposal with the city. These incorrect statements could impact the use of your city funds negatively and unduly influence our elected representatives. So, we would like to address these points, as follows:

    April 18, 2014

  • Local firefighters' union speaks out on proposed contract Dear citizens/taxpayers of Clinton: The members of Local 609 feel that it is our duty to inform the citizens of Clinton that the article titled "'Fair offer' differences" in the April 9, 2014 edition of the Clinton Herald was full of inaccurate state

    April 18, 2014

  • The lesson of 'Camp David' The line between determination and delusion can be obscure. Sometimes, the distinction emerges only in retrospect, like a Polaroid image slowly appearing. In other instances, the difference between productive grit and self-defeating obsession is an a

    April 18, 2014

Poll

With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook